Tony Hibbert claims the pressure of keeping Phil Neville out of Everton’s team is boosting his performances.
The defnensive stalwart, now in his 12th season as an Everton first-team player, has regained the right-back slot from Neville and was named the Blues’ best player during the month of September.
But Hibbert, who will hope to continue at Fulham on Sunday, won’t be resting on his laurels and is acutely aware that any slight slip in form could be costly.
He told evertontv: “It’s good to have strong competition, you need that. Ideally you want that in every position and it’s good for the team to have a good number of people who can play in a position and we have got that at the moment in certain areas.
“I think I have done alright,” continued the academy product, who has started the last five league games.
“I’ve been enjoying it but I would like for us to get a few more points. I don’t think it’s about me and how I’m doing. I like it if we are winning, no matter how we are playing, as long as we get the three points. I would rather have the three points than have a worldy of a game.”
Hibbert’s straight-talking style is perfectly juxtaposed with his on-pitch demeanour.
While he embraces the fact that the modern full-back is expected to be as much of an attacking weapon as a defensive safeguard – he admits it’s the simple defensive play he finds more satisfying.
“It is nice to put crosses in and it was an important one which Tolis managed to get his head to against Wigan,” he reflected. “It was a weight off my shoulders and it’s amazing when you’ve come away and something like that has happened.
“But I think I got more joy out of some of the blocks I put in.
“I am a defender. I have been brought up defending and I like blocking things. It’s in me. The way the game is going now you need to be able to go forward and defend and I need to carry on doing both.”